ELO school suspension questioned

EAST LIVERPOOL — The city school board was addressed Monday by a student concerned about her sister being suspended after an altercation.

Junior Sydney Hill questioned the board about a 10-day suspension meted out to both people involved in the altercation, saying, “It’s not quite fair to punish both people in the conflict. It’s unfair to punish a student for defending himself. It’s a common instinct. You should just punish the person who started the fight.”

Board member Richard Wolf told her school officials are not always aware of who instigates a fight and that, unless there are witnesses, they have no other option than to discipline both participants.

Wolf urged the administration to “take a good, hard look” at the policy, prompting Superintendent Randy Taylor to say, “We do take a look at it every year, but the success speaks for itself. We want to keep our schools safe from violence.”

Taylor advised the student that physical fights are often the last thing that happens following other events between people who could have asked for help, resulting in officials intervening.

Taylor said he believes suspensions, which may seem harsh, keeps such physical confrontations down in the district but said administrators do not always impose a suspension, saying, “The administrators use discretion in a very wise way. I’m very proud of how our administrators handle these issues.”

Hill said the student to whom she was referring — whom she later identified as her sister — did go to people before the physical confrontation but nothing was done to help her.

Board member Pat Persohn said students need to learn the importance of documentation, saying if they talk to someone in such a case, they need to document that conversation.

At the end of the meeting, Taylor met with the Hill, scheduling a time to meet with her about the situation.

In personnel matters, the board approved:

— The appointment of Alexis Schuller as student council adviser at a salary of $400 and Janis Pridemore as Destination Imagination coordinator for $857.

— Hiring Kent State intern Jack Graham for technology assistance for 35 hours per week for one month at $12 per hour, up from 21 hours per week.

— Naming 10 intervention specialists for the IEP Inter-Rater Team.

— Salary adjustments for Spanish teacher Nancy Flores and Barbara Jeffries, fourth grade teacher, both to Step B-O (retire/rehire) at $32,361.

— The resignation of Patricia Milhoan as cafeteria aide and Cindy Wolfe as teacher’s aide.

— Appointment of Cindy Wolfe as a five hour bus aide at $13.19 per hour; and Shelby Stowers as a 3.5 hour teacher’s aide at $11.50 per hour.

— Appointment of Kade Reynolds as a seasonal and casual worker.

The board approved a recommendation by Taylor to align with the county ESC to represent the business of the district for Business Advisory Council requirements, at no cost to the district.

Also approved was an agreement with the county Board of Developmental Disabilities to provide necessary services for students.

First and second readings were approved for numerous board policies.